I’ve had seven miscarriages.

It’s a sentence I’ve grown too comfortably numb repeating, despite the very real pain my heart still carries from the loss. I think when death comes in measures beyond what we can bear our brain tries to cope by focusing on the number itself rather than people behind it. We can’t fully get our head around the 6,000,000 Jews murdered in the holocaust, but we can’t hold back the tears when we’re shown the story of just one. Why is that?

I think it’s because there is holiness in personhood.

If we believe that we are truly made in God’s image, if we believe that each individual soul reflects a facet of the image of God Himself on earth, then there’s simply no denying the enormous loss of that divine presence when we lose someone in death. It’s like a piece of God himself becomes a little less clear to us on this side of eternity, as if obscured from view.

This year, with October as the national month of remembrance and awareness for these losses, I felt a pull to somehow connect myself deeper with the individual personhood of each one of the seven little ones I won’t meet until heaven. As part of my grieving process for each loss, I had been encouraged by a counselor to give each one of those babies a name. A name is one of the most powerful ways we can recognize personhood. These children don’t have a birth or death certificate, they don’t even have a birthday, but each one of them still has a name. And so much like the ceremonies held for September 11th or held at the Vietnam War memorial, this year I wanted to focus on those precious names – those 7 individual souls who each constitute an enormous loss in and of themselves. I wanted to speak each one out loud. I wanted to share those names with a world that might otherwise never know they exist at all.

I contacted a friend who is an incredibly talented calligraphy artist, who also has experienced the pain of miscarriage as well, and asked her if she could write out the names of each of those 7 babies for me together in one place, as well as their meanings (since the meanings were instrumental in the naming process for me.) When she eventually sent me the completed project I was surprised at how intense and almost tangible the grief was I felt in response. Something about seeing those names broke my heart wide open all over again. I could no longer hide behind the familiar numbness of grouping them all together as a number in a story I retell – they became tiny individuals to me all over again. I couldn’t help but picture that beautiful lettering on the cover of 7 baby books that will never exist. I saw their name’s written in frosting on birthday cakes. I saw their names sharpied on the tags inside their jackets for school, proudly scrawled out in crayon on top of their artwork, lettered across diplomas and wedding invitations, signed on the bottom of mother’s day cards they would send me someday when they were grown and maybe had children and families of their own. The reality of 7 different lives full of innumerable moments and details and memories that will never be came flooding in at once, and my grief became new.

Tonight from 7 to 8pm I will once again be participating in the #WaveOfLight, in which people all over the world light candles in …



Far too often grappling with a chronic illness is a fight not only for your health but also for your dignity. Many times the medical community can unintentionally compound the pain of those suffering by minimizing their experience or even invalidating them entirely. It can take years or even decades for some patients to get an answer to what is plaguing them, and for some the diagnosis never comes at all. Here are some actual responses I have encountered from doctors in my 15 year journey to getting my diagnosis of Lyme disease.

“Is it possible you’re feeling depressed from all the weight you’ve put on this year?”

Earlier this year when my symptoms seemed to be worsening with greater intensity than ever before, I went back to the drawing board so to speak and decided to pursue fresh eyes on my case. One of the doctors I visited listened for a couple minutes as I described my worsening pain and fatigue and how totally disabling they had become, and offered this remark in response. I had mentioned when describing my concerns that I had put on 30 lbs in the course of 6 months, and I had intended to offer that as a symptom pointing to the seriousness of my worsening condition. For the rest of the appointment this doctor consistently circled back to my weight not as a symptom, but in his opinion the root cause of all of my health issues. When I asked about further testing for Lyme disease, I was met with questions about my diet. When I described my increased dependence on my cane, I was questioned about my exercise routine. I left the appointment with handouts on why this doctor believed most everyone should maintain a vegan diet (despite the fact my history of seizures requires a high protein diet to manage, as noted by my neurologist right there in my chart,) a referral to a nutritionist, and a prescription for antidepressants he said could help me “jumpstart” my efforts to get up and moving more. Sadly, this is a common story in medicine today. Patients with higher BMIs are often written off as inherently unhealthy, and their symptoms attributed simply to poor diet and lifestyle choices rather than considering their weight may itself be a symptom of a larger underlying problem. Because of the additional shame of feeling blamed not only for their weight management issues but their worsening health as well, overweight patients are more likely to stop pursuing answers entirely, as its easier to avoid the uncomfortable and fruitless appointments rather than continue to be subjected to the relentless suggestions their weight is the real problem.

“Sometimes miscarriages simply happen. It’s the body’s natural way of stopping a pregnancy that would likely not have been viable for one reason or another. When they happen early, there usually isn’t a real ’cause’ other than that.”

To date I have had a total of 7 miscarriages, most all of them in early pregnancy. I was eventually able to have a couple doctors consider more serious possible root causes, but only after that number began to climb, and more often than not my concerns were met with a regular insistence that “these things happen.” I’ve had more statistics about the commonality of miscarriage offered to me than I can possibly recount. Pregnancy loss is an emotional experience in and of itself, and having multiple unexplained miscarriages adds an additional dimension of confusion, guilt, and anxiety to grapple with. In the end my pregnancies were marked as “high risk” because of my history of …